Egocentric or just “focused”? – Are you surrounded by narcissists?

Generation “fomo” seems to separate from the new generation of young makers who are twisting our whole reception of “risk”. The true young savages of today decide to study again choosing business over flings. Regardless of your profession – authenticity seems to be the secret to success, these days even more than ever, but is this reception bringing up a new epidemic of narcissists?

Kylie Jenner explained her beauty brand’s success in an interview with Kim Kardashian for ES Magazine last year:

“It’s the most authentic thing I’ve done in my career, and it really relates to me, and I feel like people can tell that I’m super passionate about it. It came from an insecurity and I turned it into something. I was insecure about my lips, and lipstick is what helped me feel confident. And I feel like people could see that it’s authentic to me, and it was organic, and it just worked!”

Authenticity as secret to success seems to not only be Jenner’s magic potion, but actually is the new common sense in music and fashion industry, a new chapter of a more inclusive “American Dream”, empowering fans and followers to reach their highest goals. Everything seems possible for anybody. Even Hip Hop and Trap artists seem to have learned the lesson of the past three intense years of fast rise, young rage, big bags and sudden deaths, widows and fatherless children, big and quick name sellouts, until the next tragedy happened. With all the big names becoming parents over the past years, a lot has changed in the business and in the general message. Those who praised dirty sex for money, drug abuse of any kind or being cold and heartless now preach love, water and god. We talk about the G and his family life and what they share of their journey to success sounds quite easy. Be yourself and follow your dream!

According to a simple overview, published via “statista” in November 2019, last year 70 percent of “Generation Z” indicated that making money was very important to them in terms of life goals, while 60 percent of “Millennials” said the same. This is compared to 12 percent of “Generation Z” and seven percent of “Millennials” who said that being famous was very important to them.

In short: making money already is reported as being highest life goal for the younger generation, the interest in being famous increases, the younger the person you ask. 

Being ambitious has a positive meaning for the most and never hurt anybody if the priorities were set right. But what we’re facing these days is also the dysfunctional side result of an illusion created and spread by mass media and social media. The legend of the individual, authentic enough to make millions against all odds, put into 15 second videos, designed in a simple visual language for deeper impact. 

Our Instagram timelines are packed with motivational profiles of self-educated, self-pronounced life coaches. Controversial life quotes are the baits on their hooks and troubled characters the prey. It is hard to tell right from wrong in real life, but even harder to tell real from fake on the internet! I feel like swimming in a soup of leaders, coaches, copy & paste fakes, basic misbehavior, clickbait, group dynamics, a lack of reflection and mental awareness. Hidden under the surface of ambitious people motivating themselves to reach their highest goals, supported by professional appearing quotes on social media and driven by the words of the most successful speakers in the lifestyle industry, there are undoubtedly many insecure covert narcissists with a broader stage than ever, who think, now is their time, who will act and think 100% egocentric, but call it being “focused”. 

The line between visionary and insanity is thin. The “covert narcissist” was a term I never really heard of until i actively searched for a scientific word by listing all strange behaviors I had collected by contemplating in the past. Realizing how positively the covert narcissist is supported by that new wave of ambition in 2020 made me insecure about my own priorities and life goals, so I dug deeper. As described by medical info page, the overt narcissist will demand admiration and attention, where the covert narcissist will be much more likely to constantly seek reassurance about their talents, skills, and accomplishments, looking for others to feed that same need for self-importance.

Don’t get me wrong – I am not a fan of opening people’s thorax with a pen, just because I watched two episodes of Emergency Room and someone seems to swallow. NPS is more of a spectrum rather than a clear disease and it is not easily diagnosed, even by educated specialists, because it’s often a whole package of other disorders alongside, such as borderline tendencies or depressions.  

Not every person with certain tendencies came to destroy your life, not everybody who says “no” is a psychopath, narcissists in general aren’t always evil people, their behavior protects their own fantasy image of themselves. They are not happy under the surface, doing what they’re doing. I normally only use Google if i want to check on my own symptoms, nevertheless there are some aspects, which most sources agree on as being possible signs you could have to deal with a covert narcissist:

  • a sense of self-importance or grandiosity

  • fantasies about being influential, famous, and/or important

  • exaggerating their abilities, talents, and accomplishments

  • craving admiration and acknowledgment

  • preoccupied with beauty, love, power, and/or success

  • an exaggerated sense of being unique

  • believing that the world owes them something

  • exploiting others to get what they want (no matter how it impacts others)

  • lacking empathy towards others

The introvert may not engage in blaming or shaming, but more likely in causing people to question their perceptions and second-guess themselves. The covert narcissists are said to use tactics like this to elevate themselves and maintain power in the interaction. Rather than explicitly telling you that you’re not important, they might stand you up on a date, wait until the last minute to respond to texts or emails, always show up late. 

But who are you to blame, if the person does it all for work, personal fulfillment, to keep the peace that you disturb, for money to spend on the good sides of life, right?! Ambition is a good thing, isn’t it?! This is how you might feel most of the time. You will question everything and they might even blame you to be the reason for them to cut you off in the end. Just know that, yes, this behavior has a name and, yes, your feelings are valid. Many people had been left for good around New Year’s, as the manipulative quote common sense around that time was all about leaving things behind to level up. You will never be able to understand, help or change those who got supported in their mental diseases at this point. It’s also common for relationships with narcissistic tendencies to create some form of codependency. It’s never easy to leave a situation like that, but you will feel your own peace and sense of self-worth coming back even stronger than before.

Nothing seems more appealing to me, than ambitious people supporting each other in their separate goals, making memories together just as separately, being patient and understanding with each other, being curious and being their relevant other’s biggest fans as well as inspiration. I value ambition over conformity, always did and always will. Authenticity is the key to happiness and maybe some are lucky enough to become rich and famous on the way, but never by being emotionally abusive towards others.

Being treated like a worthless person in the name of ambition is something, nobody should accept. As said in the beginning – it’s all about setting your priorities right and taking the actions that fit to your personal goals. You choose the tone of your language. Don’t get encouraged to be rude and burn bridges! Don’t let online marketing trends fool your consciousness. 

If you’re stuck in a situation with an “ambitious” person who emotionally abuses you, remember: it could be life-sentence with a person who will never reach any goal but always make you feel small. Knowledge and boundaries help a lot to stop the madness and moreover they will tell the right from the wrong. The right ones will be very ambitious getting back in balance with you and their goals, if necessary. They will listen. Stormy times are always perfect to double check on you and your environment and, as far as I know, money and success can be comfortable but at the end of the day they don’t warm your heart. Owning truths about your own truths from the past – that’s 2020 energy!

If you yourself – or one of your relatives – are in a mental crisis situation and need help: There are free help offers such as the telephone pastoral care under 0800/111 0111 or the number against sorrow. You can also find more information and help on the website of the Stiftung Deutsche Depressionshilfe